A New Jersey lease agreement is a contract used for leasing residential or commercial property located in the state of New Jersey. The main contractual parties are the landlord (lessor) and the tenant (lessee).
Lease agreements can be made as verbal agreements or as written contracts. However, proving the content of the verbal agreement can often be difficult, especially in the case of disputes. That is why you should always opt for having a written lease agreement when possible.
The written lease agreement not only provides you with more stability but also enables you to protect your rights before the court in case any dispute or non-compliance arises.
The tenant would usually submit the rental application to the landlord before the lease agreement drafting process even starts. The landlord will review the application and ensure the prospective tenant is suitable.
Only after the application process is over will the landlord and the tenant start the negotiations and draft the lease agreement.
New Jersey Lease Agreement Required Disclosures
If you are renting a property in the state of New Jersey, these are the mandatory disclosures you must include in your lease agreement:
Lead-based paint disclosure. If the leased property was built before 1978, federal law requires every landlord to inform the tenant about the lead-based paint hazard in the lease agreement. (42 U.S. Code § 4852d)
Landlord identification disclosure. The landlord must provide the tenant with the registration certificate within 30 days from the day the lease starts. The certificate contains the names and addresses of the property owners, managers, and maintenance staff. (§ 46-8-27 trough 46-8-37)
Truth in Renting Act disclosure. No later than 30 days after the lease started, the landlord must provide the statement of the Department of Community Affairs Truth in Renting Act Information to the tenant. (§ 46-8-45)
Flood area disclosure. If the leased property is located in the flood area, the tenant must include this disclosure in the lease agreement. (§ 46-8-50)
Crime insurance disclosure. The landlord must inform the tenant about the Federal Crime Insurance Program and where the tenant can apply for such insurance. This information shall be disclosed within 30 days from the start of the lease. (§ 46-8-39)
Window guard disclosure. New Jersey state law requires the landlord to install the window guard in every leased unit occupied by tenants with children of age 10 and younger. (§ 5-10-27) The landlord must also include the following statement in the lease agreement:
“The owner (landlord) is required by law to provide, install and maintain window guards in the apartment if a child or children 10 years of age or younger is, or will be, living in the apartment or is, or will be, regularly present there for a substantial period of time if the tenant gives the owner (landlord) a written request that the window guards be installed. The owner (landlord) is also required, upon the written request of the tenant, to provide, install and maintain window guards in the hallways to which persons in the tenant’s unit have access without having to go out of the building. If the building is a condominium, cooperative or mutual housing building, the owner (landlord) of the apartment is responsible for installing and maintaining window guards in the apartment and the association is responsible for installing and maintaining window guards in hallway windows. Window guards are only required to be provided in first floor windows where the window sill is more than six feet above grade or there are other hazardous conditions that make installation of window guards necessary to protect the safety of children.”
New Jersey Lease Agreement Optional Disclosures
Although not mandatory, these disclosures will provide additional protection to both the tenant and the landlord:
Bed bug disclosure. The landlord shall inform the tenant of any previous bed bug infestation at the leased unit. This disclosure must also include the guidelines in case of a new bed bug infestation.
Shared utilities disclosure. If the leased unit is sharing the water, electricity, or gas meter with other residential units, the landlord shall provide the information on how the bill is shared between the multiple units.
Consequences of Non-Disclosure
For any damages caused by the health and safety hazards not properly disclosed in the lease agreement, the landlord can face civil and criminal liability.
The landlord can pay up to $19,507 in penalties if they fail to disclose the lead-based hazard in the lease agreement. (24 CFR § 30.65)
New Jersey Lease Agreement Security Deposits
Security Deposit Maximum
The landlord cannot require more than one and a half months’ rent for the security deposit. After one year of occupancy, the landlord can require an additional deposit from the tenant, but not more than 10% of the monthly rent. (§ 46:8-21.2)
Security Deposit Return
The landlord must return the security deposit with interest no later than 30 days from the moment the lease term is over. If some deductions need to be made from the security deposit, the landlord must send a list of the deductions and the remaining deposit amount to the tenant within the same 30-day period. (§ 46:8-21.1)
When is Rent Due in New Jersey? (Grace Period)
The rent due date is usually provided in the lease agreement.
The state of New Jersey provides a grace period of 5 business days to certain categories of citizens receiving Social Security disability benefits or pensions, as provided in § 2A:42-6.1 and § 2A:42-6.3.
Other categories of citizens must pay the rent by the end of the due date. After the due date, the landlord can issue a 30-day notice to the tenant to pay or quit. If any late fees are provided, they can also be charged after the rent payment due date.
New Jersey Rent Late Fees
No state law provides the maximum late fee that can be charged. This means that the landlord can charge any late fee they deem reasonable. However, the late fee must be properly disclosed in the lease agreement.
New Jersey NSF Checks
If the check is returned for insufficient funds, the landlord must be compensated within 35 days. Otherwise, the tenant will have to pay a fee between $100 and up to three times the check value. The fee, however, cannot exceed the $500 amount.
New Jersey Landlord’s Right to Enter
The landlord must send at least one day's notice to the tenant before accessing the leased property. In case of an emergency, the landlord can access the leased property without prior notice. (§ 5:10-5.1(c))
New Jersey Lease Agreement FAQ
Yes, the New Jersey lease agreement is a legally binding contract.
From the moment both parties sign the lease agreement, it is considered valid and fully binding towards all the contractual parties.
Most of the lease agreements in New Jersey contain the following:
Names, addresses, and ID details of the landlord and the tenant
Details about the leased property
Lease term and maximum occupancy
Rent amount and due date
Security deposit amount
Late and Non-refundable fee amount and terms (if applicable)
Pet and smoking prohibition or allowance
Mandatory disclosures provided by federal and state law
Rules about the contract termination
Signatures of the landlord and the tenant
You can download the template for the lease agreement used in New Jersey from our website.
This way, your lease agreement will be in accordance with all the mandatory federal and state rules and regulations, which will enable your lease agreement to stay valid and enforceable.
After drafting and signing the lease agreement, you should visit the leased unit and do a proper inspection. This way, you will do the final check of the leased property and make sure there are no damages that need repair or cleaning that needs to be done.
If everything is in order, the tenant can pay the first month’s rent and security deposit, and the landlord can enable the tenant to access the leased property by giving them the key or, in some other way enabling them to access and use the property without being disturbed.